As I was browsing the internet for possible blog topics, I stumbled across an article that grabbed my attention. It was a scientific study that was testing to see if music could help you learn and retain information better. I am a huge fan of music so I was interested to see the results. Researchers at the University of Washington and the University of Otago in New Zealand wrote a paper testing the hypothesis of whether scientific content can be learned effectively through song. They followed three separate studies and some found different results.
The first study was done on children that were around 8-17 years of age. It found that a music video about a scientific domain helped students learn content that was directly stated in the video. Students also picked up on content that required deeper understanding. I found this all believable because of a video I was shown in school when I was younger. Some of you might have seen it as well. It was the “I’m a Bill” song by SchoolHouse Rock . To this day, that song helps me remember how a bill gets passed in the United States government.
The second study ended up having different results than the first study. It showed no correlation that music helped students learn better. What it did find was that students found the music videos more entertaining than ones without music.
Even though the second study didn’t support the hypothesis, the third study did. The third study also seemed to be the most complex and had the most detail. It was conducted on 87 seventh and eighth graders from New Zealand. They showed the students two videos. Both videos had the same content but one had music and the other did not. They assessed the students knowledge before the video, after the video and 28 days later. Both of the groups showed improvement after the first video but the test 28 days later showed some interesting results. While most of the students that watched the video without music forgot the information, the students that watched the music video retained a lot more information. Even though the studies were just preliminary, music seemed to help the students learn and retain information.
Even though these studies don’t have the biggest sample sizes and the same results, I believe that it is possible that music can help students learn. Everyone gets songs stuck in their head and that is a perfect example of how music could possibly help you learn. A catchy song about how to pass a bill is the reason I remember the process of a bill getting passed. I believe other songs could do the same. All in all, music is a great learning tool and I hope it is utilized in future education.
“Can Songs Help You Learn Scientific Concepts?”. NPR.org. N. p., 2016. Web. 14 Sept. 2016.